Report: Black Success in Higher Education Not Improving in California

The Campaign for College Opportunity released a report in December titled “The State of Blacks in Higher Education in California: The Persistent Opportunity Gap,” which highlights the enduring disparities between Black students and their White counterparts in California.

The report reveals major discrepancies in access and attainment for Black students compared to White students in California. Educational attainment for Blacks has increased, but over the past decade, the gap between Blacks and Whites earning a Bachelor’s degree has only decreased by one percentage point. Another finding is that Blacks are over-represented in California community colleges and private for-profit colleges, but under-represented in the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) systems. Admission rates for Black students into the CSU and UC systems have dropped significantly since California banned affirmative action policies in 1996 – from 75 percent in 1994 to just 58 percent in 2010.

The report also notes that Black students are the most likely group to complete a portion of their education without actually earning a degree, and that fewer Blacks between the ages of 25 to 34 today in California have a postsecondary degree compared to Blacks between the ages of 35 and 64.

“Instead of trending up, Black success in higher education remains flat and in some cases, it’s trending downward. But with the right policies and funding levels, we could see Black achievement respond positively,” said Michele Siqueiros, executive director of the Campaign for College Opportunity, in a statement launching the report.

The Campaign for College Opportunity is a nonprofit organization that is working toward ensuring that the next generation of students in California has the chance to attend and succeed in college. The organization has three priorities, which include engaging California leaders and organizations in support of higher education access and success, raising public awareness through research, and supporting policy solutions that would create a fair and equitable higher education system.